Information Technology Services

Desktop Support and ITS Computer Store

Support Policies

 

Overview – Who are Desktop Support and ITS Computer Store

 

 

Support for computing at Andrews University is provided by Information Technology Services (ITS).  Within ITS, the Client Services Group (ITS Computer Store and Desktop Support) provides customer assistance in purchasing, and support for departmental computer systems.  ITS also maintains the physical network infrastructure on campus.  Most buildings on campus are connected using fiber optic cabling to the main campus servers located in the Information Services building

 

Both hardware technology and software applications change frequently, with new features continuing to become available to the computer user.  Because of these constant changes occurring in the computer industry, there is a need to periodically redefine what support services are available to campus from Desktop Support and the ITS Computer Store.  The support services offered by ITS Desktop Support fall into three different categories:

Support for desktop operating systems and applications.

Support for personal computer systems and peripherals.

Support for network connectivity.

 

The ITS Computer Store provides assistance to both departments and students in purchasing new computer systems, peripherals, and other computer related supplies.  The ITS Computer Store also provides assistance on email accounts.

 

Overview – Purpose of this Document

 

This document defines the types and levels or support provided to the Andrews University campus by ITS Desktop Support and the ITS Computer Store.  This document contains four sections:

 

¨       Support for Desktop operating systems and applications.

¨       Support for personal computer systems and peripherals

¨       Support for network connectivity.

¨       ITS Computer Store 

 

In addition, included are the Support Software List and the Support Hardware List.  These two lists define current ITS Desktop Support supported software or hardware

Software Support


Support for software is defined as installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and upgrading of software that is found on the Supported Software List.  Assistance in using specific features or functions within a supported application is limited.  Generally, application support may be obtained by viewing the associated application help files, checking the vendor Web site, or directly contacting the software vendor through a dialup technical support line.

 

When ITS Desktop Support installs a new system or updates an older system with newer software, the operating system used or applications installed are chosen from the Supported Software List.  Typically, what is called the "Standard AU load" consists of the operating system and software applications chosen from the Supported Software List and installed upon the departmental system.  Depending on departmental needs all or only part of the applications available for a given operating system may be installed in the Standard AU load.

 

For software not included on the Supported Software List, support may not be available or available on a limited basis only.  Applications that are not supported may consist of older versions of currently supported software, freeware/shareware applications, or software installed by non-ITS personnel. 

 

Unsupported software may have incompatibilities with the supported campus software or hardware.  This may cause system failures, lockups, reboots, or crashes.  Systems which have been loaded with unsupported software may need to be reformatted and reloaded with supported software to return the system to a fully functional condition.

 

Requests for unsupported software installation on computers purchased through ITS Computer Store are limited to application installation only.  Configuration and troubleshooting are performed as best possible, but successful installation (properly running software) may not be possible.  Unsupported applications may cause supported applications to act in an erratic manner.

 

All services performed upon equipment by ITS personnel are subject to Time & Material charges.  This includes installation of software from the Supported Software List, requests for installation of unsupported software, work performed to correct problems occurring from the installation of unsupported software, or other problem solving and correction required on the user's system.


Information Technology Services
Supported Software List
01-July-2001


Operating Systems

 

Microsoft Windows 9.x Operating Systems

                Support for Windows 95 computer systems is limited to currently installed systems.  Microsoft no longer provides technical support on their Windows 95 operating system.

                Support for Windows 98 (base) is limited to currently installed systems.  Most systems currently using Windows 98 (base) would benefit by upgrading to Windows 98 SE (second edition) or alternately to Windows 2000 if hardware allows.

                Support for Windows 98 SE is offered for both new computer systems and those systems originally purchased with Windows 98 SE or that have been upgraded from a previous version of Microsoft Windows.

                There is currently no support for Windows ME (Millennium Edition).  This version is fraught with many problems and does not perform well on the campus network.  It is recommended that systems with Windows ME installed be either upgraded to Windows 2000 or downgraded to Windows 98 SE.  This is especially true for laptop computers.

 

Microsoft Windows NT Operating Systems

                Support for Windows NT Workstation 4.0 is limited to currently installed systems.  It is recommended that systems currently using NT Workstation 4.0 upgrade to Windows 2000 Professional if supported by the computer system hardware.

                Support for Windows 2000 Professional is offered on both new computer systems and those systems meeting the requirement found on the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).

                Support for Windows XP Professional is not currently available.  This Operating system has not been tested on campus.  It is expected that support will be available when this operating system has been thoroughly tested.

 

Apple Macintosh Operating Systems

                Support for Apple Macintosh equipment is very limited.  ITS Desktop Support in no longer an Authorized Self-Service Center.  Desktop Support no longer receives any updates or patches from Apple in regards to their operating systems.  However, on systems running either Macintosh operating system versions 8.x or 9.x, Desktop Support provides departmental assistance on a case by case basis.

                There is no support for the Macintosh OS X operating system.  This includes both the server and desktop versions.

 

Non Supported Operating Systems

                ITS Desktop Support does not provide support for any of the following operating systems:

                DOS/Windows 3.x

                Windows NT 3.x

                Windows ME

                Windows based Servers (any version)

                Unix/Linux

                Apple Macintosh 6.x and 7.x


Applications

                Support is limited to installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. ITS Desktop Support provides support for campus departmental computers only.  Desktop Support does not currently provide support for application usage.

 

Supported Applications

                Microsoft Office Suite

                                Office 2000 Suite – Professional and Standard only

                                Office 97 Suite – Limited support to current installations only.

                                Office 95 Suite and older – No longer supported.

                                Office Suite for Macintosh – Limited support is available on the Office 2001 suite only.

 

                Corel Office Suite

 

                                Office 2000 Suite – Support is for the standard version only.

                                Corel Suite 8 – Limited support to current installations only.

                                Corel Suite 7 and older – No longer supported.

Corel Office for Macintosh – No support is offered.  It is recommended that departments upgrade to the current shipping Microsoft Office suite for the Macintosh.

 

                Miscellaneous Applications

Microsoft Internet Explorer – Support is offered on version 5.0 or newer.  Older version should be upgraded to the current version.

                                Netscape Communicator – Support is limited to current installations only.

                                McAfee Anti-virus – Support for both versions 4.03 and 4.5.

                                QVTNet version 4.2 –

                                Adobe Acrobat Reader versions 4.05/5.xx


Hardware Support 


Support for hardware is defined as installation, configuration, and troubleshooting, of hardware that is found on the Supported Hardware List.  Upgrading of hardware found on the Supported Hardware List follows the recommendations of the manufacturer. 

 

For systems or hardware not included in the Supported Hardware List support is limited or may not be available.  While Desktop Support endeavors to provide assistance to departments with such systems or peripherals, this is not always possible due to the unique nature of the hardware found in these items.  It is recommended that departments contact the system or peripheral vendor directly either through the vendor’s website or through a dialup technical support line to receive assistance.

 

 

Standardization

ITS is tasked with setting the standard for computing hardware and software on the campus of Andrews University.  The ITS Computer Store has selected specific vendors and model lines which have a good overall reliability, the ability to work properly within the AU campus, and a vendor backed support program.  These select equipment vendors and software vendors are found on the Supported Hardware List and Supported Software List respectively.

 

Some of the benefits of departments receive from using systems, software and peripherals found on the Support Hardware and Software lists are:

 

°          Lowering the total cost of ownership

°          Resolving problems quickly

°          Allowing the computer system to be used more productively

 

Using the selected equipment found on the Supported Hardware list decreases the total cost of ownership because:

°          Machines work more consistently. 

°          Service personnel are more familiar with the product and take less time to research information pertaining to the equipment, fixing problems quickly. 

°          Newer software or services are more easily deployed because there are fewer variations and configuration problems to be solved. 

 

Sometimes external requirements mean non-standard hardware may need to be used.  This usually applies to peripheral devices attached to a computer system and/or the associated software.  However, in most cases using standard hardware makes the most efficient use of available resources.

 

Installation of Software on non-supported Hardware

On systems that are not found on the Supported Hardware List, the installation of supported software from the Supported Software List may be very difficult and time consuming or just not possible.  Some vendors do not consistently adhere to established standards.  This results in equipment that in a networked environment may cause erratic behavior.  The result is a system that may seem to function for a period of time, but which may suddenly become erratic or stop functioning altogether.  At this point the system may require that the supported software be reinstalled.  These systems generally continue to cause problems and are unreliable.


Warranty Assistance

ITS Desktop Support provides warranty assistance and service on supported hardware sold through the ITS Computer Store.  Warranty assistance is provided for the duration of the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) warranty to the end user.  Desktop Support works closely with both vendors and departments in facilitating warranty claim issues.  Generally, warranty assistance is provided to departments without charge.  Reinstallation of software that was corrupted by the equipment failure is not covered by either the OEM warranty or Desktop Support.

 

Other Available Services

ITS Desktop Support provides assistance and service on hardware that is in the post warranty period.  The ability to support this equipment is dependent on the availability of replacements parts and technical support from the original manufacturer.  Advancing technology causes problems for older equipment in need of repair.  Newer replacement parts may not be functional in older equipment.   

 

ITS Desktop Support also provides a limited support on privately owned equipment.  Support for this equipment is assigned a lower priority then departmental equipment.  Customers are charged for both Time and Materials used to affect the repair.  All charges are to be paid (charge card or check/cash) before the equipment may be released.


Information Technology Services
Desktop Support
Supported Hardware List

01-July-2001


Support on computer system hardware or printers is limited to items purchased through the ITS Computer Store.  Some models from supported vendors where either not distributed or available through ITS.  For those select machines, departments may need to contact their original supplier.

 

Computer Systems

 

 

Desktop

Dell Computer -- OptiPlex Family

Kingdom Computer -- Pinnacle Family

 

Laptop

Dell Computer -- Latitude and Inspiron Series

 

 

Printers

 

 

Laser

Hewlett-Packard -- LaserJet Family

 

Inkjet

Hewlett-Packard -- DeskJet Family


Network Support

 
The main Andrews campus network connects all of the major buildings on campus to the Information Services Building.  This network provides a connection to both academic and administrative servers, a connection to the internet, and permits the sharing of file and print services across campus.  These different types of connections provide faculty, staff and students the ability to process administrative requests, move documents between individuals, correspond with class professors, peers or friends, and access resources either on campus or located across the Internet. 

 

ITS is tasked with developing, installing and maintaining the network on the Andrews University campus.  Also, ITS manages the administrative servers, access to the internet, and other daily needs of the Andrews campus.  Desktop Support's networking responsibilities include maintaining and troubleshooting internal building network cabling, network wiring closets and network connection to the desktop.

 

Changes within the building network wiring closets have the potential to disrupt networking throughout the building or potentially across campus.  Departmental personnel or other unauthorized persons should not install building network cabling, move/remove patch cables on the active network devices in the network wiring closets or install any active network devices on the existing physical campus network infrastructure.  Doing so may result in the loss of services to departments, whole building, or to multiple buildings causing adverse effects on campus computing!

Computer Store


ITS Computer Store provides assistance to the Andrews University campus in the selection and purchasing of computer systems, software and peripheral equipment.  ITS Computer Store provides other services to the Andrews University campus such as setting up email and PPP accounts, document and image scanning, and OCR document conversion.

 

In selecting computer systems, software and peripheral equipment for use on campus, the ITS Computer Store selects quality equipment and software at affordable prices from manufacturers providing quality technical assistance and warranty service.  Equipment and software from manufacturers considered by the ITS Computer Store may be found on either the Supported Hardware List or Supported Software List.  Equipment and software on these lists are compatible with campus software, integrates into the campus local area network, has manufacturer based quality technical support, and a good warranty program. 

 

By standardizing on computer equipment and software from the Supported Hardware and Software Lists, the total cost of ownership to Andrews University is reduced.  It is reduced through simplified integration of software, greater productivity through less down time, lowered maintenance costs by greater warranty coverage, and more efficient use of available campus resources.

 

If a need arises for specialized hardware or software, the ITS Computer Store provides selection assistance and in most cases is able to special order the item at a reduced price for the department.  ITS Computer Store follows both the Hardware and Software Purchase Guidelines in the selection process of special order items.  These guidelines help in the selection of items that provide the best possible solution for the departmental requirements.

 

ITS Computer Store carries the peripherals and supplies necessary to meet departmental computing needs.  These include includes peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, external storage units, modems, and other peripheral devices. Supply items such as laser and ink cartridges for printers, floppy diskettes, Zip and Jazz media, printer and serial cables and a variety of cable adapters are also available. 

 

Software appearing on the Supported Software List may also be purchased at the ITS Computer Store.  Most software from the Supported Software List is available for immediate purchase at the ITS Computer Store counter.  Site licensed software is limited to use by Andrews University departmental customers only.  It may not be repurchased for personal or home use.

 

Special Ordering

The ITS Computer Store will, upon request, special order items for departments that are not directly support by ITS PC Support.  Special ordering of items is provided as a service to campus for special requirements that sometimes exist in departments.  Generally the ITS Computer Store is able to purchase these special order items at a considerable savings for the department.

 

Defective equipment that was special ordered or equipment purchased directly by the department from an outside vendor should be referred back to the original vendor or outside supplier.  ITS PC Support endeavors to provide technical assistance when possible to departments, but assistance may not be possible on these types of equipment.

Hardware Purchase Guidelines

For departments seeking to purchase computer equipment directly from a manufacturer or reseller the same selection criteria used in obtaining standardized hardware should be followed.  The criteria used include compatibility with campus software, integration into the campus local area network, availability and quality of technical support, and warranty service.

 

Compatibility with Campus Software

Computer hardware equipment must be of the quality as to work harmoniously with the available campus operating systems and applications.  PC compatible equipment should be of the quality that it may run the Microsoft Windows NT operating system and appear on the current Microsoft NT Hardware Compatibility List.  This list is availability from Microsoft's web site.  It lists equipment that has been tested and verified to work with the Windows NT operating system.  Microsoft Windows NT contains the most stringent requirements of any current PC compatible operating systems.  All other supported PC operating systems are compatible with equipment contained on this list.

 

Integration into the Campus Network

Manufacturers design equipment for both a home consumer and business user.  Equipment designed for the consumer market is not necessarily oriented towards connecting into a Local Area Network (LAN).  This equipment may experience hardware or software difficulties when placed into a situation requiring connection to a LAN.  Some newer consumer grade computers may not accept the required Network Interface Card (NIC) without removing some of the vendor installed hardware or software.  In addition, consumer grade equipment generally contains many preloaded software applications bundled with the computer system.  These applications may cause problems when integrated with networking software.

 

Equipment for the business user is designed to operate in a networked environment.  Networked equipment may be required to run continuously, work in close proximity with other computer equipment, and be able to endure rough treatment.  This equipment readily accepts network adapters and software required to operate on a LAN.

 

Technical Support

Most vendors endeavor to provide some form of technical support.  However, selecting a vendor who provides the type(s) of support required to adequately support the computer equipment on campus may be the difference between a simple and quick resolution to a problem or a lengthy period of down time.  This includes the availability of technical help in resolving configuration or troubleshooting problems, upgrades to system hardware or BIOS patches, software updates, detailed information on known incompatibilities, and solutions to work around problems in critical situations.  Lack of availability of any of these essential items may cause excessive down time, reduced productivity, or reduced functionality.

 

Warranty

The warranty provided by the vendor is a critical part of the overall purchase decision and factors into the overall cost to Andrews University and the department.  Warranties from different vendors may appear equal on the surface, but may indeed be quite different in the types of coverage provided to their customers.  Contacting some vendor technical support lines is difficult and may result in extra down time waiting for a call back from the technical support personnel.

 

Warranty issues include the accessibility of services from the vendor, duration of the warranty period, whether it is an on-site or carry-in warranty, availability of warranty reimbursements to Andrews University and optional warranty coverage costs.  A warranty requiring Andrews University to ship at its expense items to the vendor, do troubleshooting for the vendor, or perform other services to effect the repair of the computer equipment can quickly add to the total cost of ownership.  This may lead to substantial delays in bringing the equipment back to a functional condition.

 

Software Purchase Guidelines

The ITS Computer Store stands ready to fill nearly all the software needs of AU campus computer users.  The packages listed on the Supported Software List have been tested by the ITS PC Support staff and shown to work within the AU campus environment.  Using software from this list assures the user fewer software failures, and a more timely resolution to problems that do arise.

 

ITS Computer Store stocks all software found on the Supported Software List (dependent on availability from the vendor).  Other software that may be needed for specific departmental tasks or for class related projects may be procured, usually at academic prices.  If problems can be foreseen running an older application on newer machines, the appropriate actions are discussed with the customer.  However, if the customer still wants to try to make it work, they will be warned that support may not be available for that application.  Continuing to use the older application may cause problems with other parts of their system, costing them both down time and extra money to correct the problem. 

 

Purchasing standard AU supported software from other vendors is certainly possible, but may result in a higher cost.  Before purchasing software not on the Support Software List, inquiry should be made to the ITS Computer Store to avoid compatibility issues with software already existing on the machine.

 

Other Available Services

Departments or individuals needing quick retrieval of information (pictures or data) from a hard copy, scanning of images, or OCR processing of documents are able to obtain these services from the ITS Computer Store.  Information can also be retrieved from disk media, depending on the type of problem.

 

The ITS Computer Store carries laser and inkjet printers and the supplies to support them.  It also carries a wide range of cables, storage devices, media, memory, and many other peripheral devices. 

 

From time to time the ITS Computer Store has used computer equipment.  This equipment is available for repurchase by individuals and is limited to a first-come first-served arrangement.